$154 million city budget approved

Spending is expected to increase slightly for the City of Grand Junction next year, with most of that increase budgeted for new capital projects.

The Grand Junction City Council approved a 2012 budget of $154 million, an increase of nearly $8 million over the 2011 budget that reflects slight increases in projected revenues.

“The City of Grand Junction is required by our charter to operate under a balanced budget, and the budget we approved tonight is balanced,” Mayor Tom Kenyon stated in a city news release. “It represents a modest increase over the 2011 budget. It allows us to maintain our current level of service to the community without adding staff, and it also allows us to finish out our capital projects while adding a few more that will really benefit the community.

“In addition, we maintained reserves to be used for economic development. All of these things are sound fiscal practices, and I am proud to present this budget to our community,” Kenyon added.

The 2012 budget includes decreased operating expenses across all departments. With the exception of four police officers whose salaries will be funded by grants, city staffing will remain the same next year. The city has cut 82 positions since 2009.

Employees will receive a 1.5 percent increase in pay next year — half of the 3 percent reduction implemented in 2010. Employees will pay for half of a 10 percent increase in health insurance premiums, with the city paying the remaining half.

The budget includes increased capital spending, including the return of a street overlay program.

While no utility rate increases are budgeted for 2012, some fees and fines will increase, including sewer plant investment fees, golf fees and some planning fees.